Horses need fresh air and green grass to lead a healthy life. Check out these wonderful horses enjoying a calm, sunny day on this cool pasture. They certainly feel great and love those few hours of peace and quiet.
But horses should be fed hay before they go out to pasture for the first time. Don’t bring them back on an empty stomach! Initial grazing should be limited to 15-20 minutes and gradually increased by 15 minutes each day until horses have been out for approximately 4-5 hours, after which unlimited time may be allowed.
Most can only survive on grass because that’s what they were born in the wild for, but wild horses only live about 10 years. Horses, when they are at work, need a lot of vitamins and minerals that grass alone cannot provide. Many horse owners will give them hay, grain and a salt block to provide them with these nutrients.
In general, horses should be allowed to graze in the early morning or evening to minimize ingestion of high fructose leaves. However, these are also peak feeding times for mosquitoes, which can transmit a multitude of disease-causing organisms, including West Nile viruses. So be careful. And we know that young spring grass is tempting to your horse after a long winter of hay and wheat, for example, but eating too much of it can cause severe abdominal pain called colic. As with the sire who can also keep up with a lot of spring weed consumption, moderation is the key to preventing weed colic.
Many people also find that allowing their horses to be outside 24/7 is beneficial for the mental health of the animal. The extra freedom leads to fewer behavior problems and also makes the horse easier to train. Boredom can be a problem in the barn. So it’s up to you to choose how to kill this boredom.